back to article Microsoft, Nokia, and MeeGo: Are they all doomed?

The beat from the Silicon Valley drums has been that Microsoft is doomed because Windows is a PC operating system, phones outsell PCs, and Windows has struggled on mobile. QED. It's true that Windows phones have lost market share – and that Microsoft is starting from zero in terms of market share on Windows Phone 7, an …

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  1. Captain DaFt
    FAIL

    (untitled)

    Not only will 'company' "help drive and define the future of Windows 'product'", but "'company' and Microsoft will closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap."

    OK. hands up from all you old timers that've read this many, many times before, and it's always ended up with Microsoft cutting the 'company' loose after it's milked it of all the IP it needs to go it alone.

    Some numptys never learn from history, RIP Nokia.

    1. pan2008

      partners in business

      It doesn’t make sense that Microsoft will bleed Nokia to death. If Nokia doesn’t do well Microsoft will lose money as well, if you had a partner in business you wouldn’t like them to do well?

      Going to meego issue. It just wasn’t successful, it had problems and nokia couldn’t afford to spend more money on it. We are moving from a simple mobile phone to a portable computer in your pocket, it’s natural that you can’t have 6-7 platforms for the same reason you don’t have 6-7 platforms in the PC business. It's very expensive to develop and market it. Finally, Windows phone 7 is better experience, faster and more robust than android (currently), forgetting the politics the man in the street will go for Windows phone given the choice to check both, so Nokia didn’t take a crazy decision to adopt a bad OS. I think it’s good to have healthy competition instead of just Apple and android (maybe rim).

      1. Daniel 1

        Maybe RIM?

        Of course bloody RIM! Let's ignore the world you want to be real, for a bit, and think about the one that actually exists, shall we? RIM may have lost market share in the last year but it's still number 1 smart pone manufacturer in the US, and world wide.

        If you want a three-way smart phone market, you already have one: Android, RIM, iOS. Android grew 888% last year, and that skews perceptions of market share, but those are all three strong contenders, each growing their businesses, in terms of unit-shipments.

        The thing is, you'd have to have grown by 80-90%, in unit sales, just to hold market share against that sort of explosion (which Apple, incidentally, did).

        Whatever its merits, WP7 is nowhere in the picture, and large portions of the industry have no immediate desire for it to be there, either - for exactly the reasons you alluded to, yourself - it's not the induistry's job to create relevance, for a platform that has trouble finding any for itself.

        You say: "Windows phone 7 is better experience, faster and more robust than android ?" Yeah? I now a guy who likes to go on about how good BeOS was. He's probably right: I can't be arsed finding out.

  2. Robot

    Even if Nokia succeeds, it fails, I'm afraid

    Even if Nokia succeeds with WP7 beyond everyone's wildest dreams, i.e., even if it matches the market share of the iPhone (yes, that wildly successful legendary iPhone), Nokia will get 17% of the global market share. But that is still way down from Nokia's present 36% now. In other words, Nokia can succeed like Apple yet fail, I'm afraid. (I am not anti-Nokia, and I really wish them great great success.)

    1. tina1
      Thumb Up

      What Nokia did can prove to be a huge success......

      I don't think Nokia is dumping symbian Qt completely. What is the point of being so disappointed? Nokia has 75 million symbian devices in market and still going to launch around 15million more.

      May be Nokia would try and get Qt on windows. Let’s see, but Qt is strong and will remain so, but I am also excited about WP7.

      And on the other hand Nokia is still launching its MeeGo device. Qt developers still have a long way to go.

  3. Mermaid Dick
    FAIL

    Flog the dead horses

    but there will not be any running until the maggots have taken over.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title

    Only ever bought nokia phones to date, but not any more. Goodbye and thanks for the fish.

    1. chairman_of_the_bored
      Coat

      don't you mean...

      thanks for the finnish?

    2. Mitch Kent

      I was the same... (though my loyalty was always to symbian, not nokia)

      But after less than a year with my N97 I went with the HTC Desire and it is a new league. I miss the qwerty keyboard, the device's hardware was solid, but the desire has sublime build quality as well and the OS is just leaps and bounds ahead. It will take a *lot* to get me back onto a Nokia platform, and even more onto a windows one...

  5. Mme.Mynkoff
    Dead Vulture

    "but it's a shrinking market"

    "Microsoft has just bought market share with its purchase of Nokia, but it's a shrinking market"

    Strange, I thought the smartphone market grew last year:

    http://www.reghardware.com/2011/01/27/smartphone_market_2010/

    "Crucially, the business as a whole grew, from 2009's smartphone shipments of 174.7m units to 292.9m last year, an increase of just under 68 per cent."

    What is the author of this piece smoking?

    1. Andrew Williams

      Shrinking in the sense that...

      There is no evidence or for that matter likelihood of Nokia regaining smartphone market share or even slowing the haemorrhaging in market share by this deal with Microsoft.

      Note also that they are talking a two year time frame for implementation. Do you honestly think that the other smartphone makers are going to wait upon Nokia and Microsoft to release an offering before upping their game?

      1. Mme.Mynkoff
        Dead Vulture

        Goalposts six inches to the left, kthx

        I do not disagree, but you are talking about something else, called risk. Nokia's prospects of success in the market.

        The author of the piece wrote (or miswrote) that the smartphone market is growing. This is false.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nokia has decided to die

    I wish it would just get it over with.

    I just cannot believe in this fabled co-operation with MS, because that is not how MS works. It eats; it doesn't co-operate.

  7. Robert Simpson
    Gates Horns

    hmmm

    I sincerely hope that MS aren't doomed, the more players in the market means more competition and better end products for us end users. I don't particularly like MS (not at all in fact) but less competition is never a good thing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Elop is a traitor

    This a premeditated attack on the European R&D industry. The European Commission needs to get involved. I am absolutely certain that if Nokia was an American company and Microsoft European the US government would get involved.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      when in doubt

      attack the evil merkins and paint with that broad brush. Yep here in America we are all huge M$ fans our favorite local company, never mind American hippy RMS largely pioneered the open source model that threatens M$. Long term propping up companies using governments tends to cause your growth rate to fall (when was last time west Europe grew %5 in a year). As for a European company taking over an American company and cutting jobs that happened with Chrysler twice and we were like meh. No China taking over stuff is another matter. Asia is the one destroying both our economies. Free trade sucks if you are the only one opening your markets.

  9. Tom Chiverton 1
    Black Helicopters

    Well now...

    Well now... let's see who's the 7th largest private owner of shares in Microsoft, and would therefore do well out of any deal that sees the MSFT share price go up... It's not the new head of Nokia is it ?

    Sly old dog !

    1. MinionZero
      WTF?

      What the... ??!%#?!

      @"7th largest private owner of shares"

      Hold on, I need to pick up my jaw off the ground. I thought it was very suspect that the new boss of Nokia had such a close history to Microsoft, but WTF!, I didn't know he was the 7th largest private share owner of Microsoft!!!!

      Talk about conflict of interests!

      There needs to be a serious criminal investigation into all of this. This guy is effectively selling Nokia out. He is in effect transforming Nokia into a subsidiary of Microsoft! ... Then Microsoft will benefit from this deal and so his share price will benefit. He has a vested interest in selling out Nokia's future, transforming it into something that just feeds Microsoft. He doesn't need to care about what Nokia could have become without him undermining it, because he only needs to care about how to boost his shares in Microsoft.

      Plus how many jobs are at stake at Nokia long term, just so this greedy underhanded Machiavellian bastard can boost his profits?!

      I really hope the press dig deep into this guy's connections with Microsoft. This bastard needs to be taken down and sued into the ground by shareholders of Nokia. The share price of Nokia has already dropped noticeably.

      I still can't get over it ... "7th largest private owner of shares in Microsoft" ... that's shocking!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Grenade

        Its more than merely shocking ...

        ... its barefaced and blatant. Its a complete piss take how transparent the whole deal is.

  10. Paul Shirley

    going to piss of other makers

    You have to wonder why the other phone makers, currently making high end, high profit WP7 phones as just another niche product, would want to promote an OS that Nokia threatens to commoditise. It's one thing paying a $55 tax on a $600 phone, another on a $200 one.

    And it can't be good for them to let Nokia stay a whole generation of phones ahead of everyone because of their input into WP7. Be interesting to see if any drop out now, while there's still a chance to marginalise WP7 and kill it at birth.

    That Android already owns the low and midrange (in the growing market) makes waiting a couple of years for WP7 seem pretty risky. If you're going to pick an OS guaranteed to become commoditised you might as well go with the one that's already there. What makes sense for Nokia doesn't make sense for companies already in the commodity phone business.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    SGI all over again

    "A real problem for Nokia will come in actually keeping the engineering expertise it's famed for and will rely on."

    Yes, when SGI's executives decided that Windows NT was the way to go, people walked. It wasn't until the Microsoft farce was over and they retooled for Linux that their fortunes improved, but even then the damage had been done.

  12. danny_0x98

    A Reasonable Analysis

    I have two questions. Am I wrong in thinking "The world is leaving us behind, so we must hitch up with the leader." would be a description of Intel's anxieties as they negotiated the MeeGo deal. Also, doesn't the vague outlines of the Nokia-Microsoft deal look similar to the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal? Which, from my seat way back in the peanut gallery, hasn't apparently generated any synergistic sparks, or whatever the kids call it nowadays.

  13. JassMan Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    When did Micro$oft buy Nokia

    "Microsoft has just bought market share with its purchase of Nokia, but it's a shrinking market, and there's real question over how much this deal can really help Windows."

    Why weren't we told. I know there has been plenty about the infiltration and de-finnishtration but actual purchase is one step too far.

    1. Alex Berry

      Re: When did Micro$oft buy Nokia

      Microsoft has effectively bought themselves a slice of the smartphone pie by securing themselves roughly 30% of smartphone sales, they haven't actually purchased any part of Nokia...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Terribly, terribly disappointed

    I'm extremely disappointed by the decision to switch from an open source OS to WP7. With MeeGo and Qt it really looked like Nokia had the next big thing - an open source, cross platform development ecosystem.

    But now it's been demoted and put to one side in favour of Microsoft's offering.

    How does the saying go? "Extend, Embrace, Extinguish"?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Nokia is doomed!

    I worked there for 12-years. When I joined it was an engineering company. When I left, and the main reason I left, was that it became a brand company - management top heavy, incapable of making decisions. They didn't want to invest in training or developing people any more (unless they were managers), they just wanted to outsource the work to India (or where-ever it was cheapest), do the integration in house and stamp the 'Nokia' brand on the finished product. All the best engineers left years ago.

  16. Shonko Kid
    FAIL

    "..with its purchase of Nokia"

    Whilst this may be the de-facto view of the deal, it's not (yet) factually true.

    Pwnage seems more appropriate anyhow.

  17. Robert E A Harvey

    My 2d worth

    Forget about Meego. It was another Linux spin-off, and there are plenty of those. There is no compelling reason why this one is different from any other. Moblin made some sort of sense when Intel thought it could squeeze windows out of netbooks and tablets to increase margins for it's chip customers. But Nokia has dropped the Maemo ball so many times that there is nothing worthwhile to pull out of the wreckage.

    HTC and, to a lesser extent, HP and Samsung will offer WP7 phones for the rest of this year, then drop it like a hot potato: they already have somewhere else to go. This might be the inadvertent making of WebOs - or did HP read the writing on the wall when Mr Elop joined Nokia?

    The big mystery is what will happen to low-end phones. Most of the world, from Nairobi to my wife's mother, don't want a smart phone: they want a cheap one. That makes phone calls. WPx will never be cheap, because M$ have a revenue mindset not a volume mindset.

    This could be China's moment. OvTech, C-EASY, Huawei, and all the rest are waiting in the wings. They are more than ready. Hutchison Whampoa owns '3' and could easily want to join in. They have the world-wide contacts.

    We are living, as they say, in interesting times.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Nokia R.I.P

    You just did a Motorola, and killed your smartphone business. You went from a burning platform to another burning platform.

    No doubt your ex-Microsoft CEO had something to do with this decision, I wonder where his priorities were...

    Microsoft only look after Microsoft, they don't give a rats ass what happens to Nokia, who by the end of this will be an empty shell of their former selves. Microsoft will have gotten what they wanted out of it (WP7 not sinking without a trace) and Nokia will be scrabbling around as a bottom-feeder picking up the pieces.

    I'm betting 3 years from now, they will be desperate to join OHA (if they shareholders haven't revolted by then)

    This decision will be seen as the key demise of Nokia several years from now.

    Congratulations Stephen Elop , your true masters back in Redmond will be most pleased.

  19. Steen Hive
    Flame

    Idiocy

    I don't think all this never-ending analysis sheds any more light on the unfortunate future for Nokia.

    The principle is simple: Take a bloated, management-heavy company that has World-class hardware, R&D and engineering, but whose said engineering has been let down by sometimes dubious software - then slash & burn the world-class R&D and engineering and leave a company with dubious hardware an run guaranteed dubious Microsoft software on it.

    Tell me this won't end in tears. Stephen Elop is an asset-stripper, not a CEO - his job is to steal value out of Finland. Given the size of Nokia's contribution to the GDP of a country of only a few million people, the Finnish government should consider Nokia a strategic military asset and nationalize the fucker post-haste.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Well...

    Looks like another version of Windows ME has to Go.

  21. Nick Kew Silver badge

    (untitled)

    My thought: this could be positive for Microsoft, being the company with least to lose in the field. Much less likely to be positive for anyone else.

    But given Nokia's rudderless drifting since getting wrong-footed by the rise of Blackberry&Apple (delicious), one has to wonder how long this'll last. Just a year ago, Maemo was looking good before they went and effectively ceded pretty-much the entire "open" space to Android.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    The more high tech jive I hear....

    The more I want a basic phone that just makes phone calls....

  23. k9

    desperation

    Nokia Symbian smart phones aren't without their problems,either! Even with several firmware updates an N95 used to crash quite regularly. The only way Symbian could compete would be to open source, zero licensing costs. Yes I know that was tried but it seems Nokia wants an instant answer, floundering from one ill thought through decision to another. They are no doubt beginning to feel the threat to their market share as Apple and Android have matured and continue to innovate. Nokia's answer has been to bury it's head in the sand, throwing a few crumbs to try and slow the rate of defection with free music and sat nav. Nothing other than Apple's mobile OS and Android is going to florish in this market due to their widespread adoption. These appeal to different types of consumer and the market is big enough for both. Back to Nokia, I can't help thinking that this decision to partner with Microsoft is too influenced by the guy's previous employment with them. If I were a Nokia shareholder, which I'm not, I would have serious doubts over the motivation of this move. They should have chosen Android and here's why. They could have differentiated themselves from other Android handset manufacturers by (1) the nokia name is still strong. (2) create their own slick UI layer skin with enough resources to apply this quicker than the competition when the Android version iterates. (3) support previous models with updates longer than competitors. (4) rationalise the number of models, concentrate on ground breaking hardware and battery life. (5) create more than one SKU for each model, especially flag ships to have a choice of vanilla Android. That's it my 5 point plan for when this MS folly fails.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Okia + Android - agreed

      Recently bought a smartphone for the Mrs (with her input). She found the Nokia devices appealing, but she also wanted something like the "iphone" experience - especially the ability to pick & choose applications.

      I'm sure we would have ended up with an Android phone by Nokia, if such a thing existed.

      BTW we ended up with an Orange San Francisco, which at £100 is a very good cheap-substitute-for-iphone.

      A WP7 phone by Nokia would have been quite tempting to her, but a non-starter because for just a little more money she could have had a real iphone (or a refurb for a good bit less).

  24. JaitcH

    Nokia: betting it's fortune on a lead balloon called MS

    Engineers are strange beasts. Not only are they attracted to a job/position by salary but also by the subject of their efforts.

    Hacking MS software and Nokia hardware to become functional may just be enough to send the cream of Nokia engineering scurrying off the ship and towards the OS of choice - Android.

    Nokia stands a good chance of becoming a shell of an entity gaining income from it's patent portfolio which, no doubt, it has opened up to MS.

    What a sad end to a Scandinavian miracle. Two duds don't make a winner.

  25. Neil 7
    Alert

    MeeGo, Qt, Open Source...

    Microsoft have massively undermined MeeGo by turning Nokia.

    MeeGo uses Qt as the development platform, and Qt on Symbian would have been massive, in turn fuelling development and interest in MeeGo, but now Symbian is end-of-life and sales will most likely drop off a cliff (not the 150mn Nokia expect to sell in the next 1-2 years, come on!)

    With Symbian dead, and the future of Qt questionable, developers that had learned and were committed to Qt are already abandoning ship and switching to Java/Android[1 - read the comments].

    With declining interest in Qt, and no mass market hardware, there will be no interest in MeeGo. Period. Even if Intel continue support, what development platform will they now use that offered the benefits and reach of Qt on Nokia hardware? GTK+? Purhlease.

    Perhaps someone like Samsung, who are developing their own Linux OS for mobile devices[2] will want to join MeeGo and pick up the slack from Nokia. Intel should buy the Qt Division from Nokia before all of the engineers leave for pastures new.

    I fully expect the IVI vendors to reconsider their decision to support MeeGo any time now, and switch horses to Android. Without a compatible mobile OS running on counterpart devices, MeeGo as an in-car OS is a much less tempting proposition. With MeeGo on handsets, you would have been syncing and shareing data with ease, utilising Qt scalable user interfaces on both devices. Without Nokia, the IVI crowd may as well saddle up with Android and then MeeGo is on life support, and the market loses the only truly open source mobile OS, and Microsoft has one less threat to deal with.

    This deal is a master stroke by Microsoft, killing Symbian, MeeGo, and cross-platform Qt (although it may live on as a fork, it will never be as relevant or pervasive as it would have been prior to Feb 11) while gaining a lap-dog hardware manufacturer that will soon be entirely dependent upon Microsoft for it's survival once it bins all of it's own software engineers (at which point, Microsoft pays a pittance for the shell of a company and it's remaining IP and manufacturing capacity).

    No doubt changes were necessary at Nokia, including shedding staff to reduce it's bloated and inefficient R&D head-count. Perhaps a partnership with MS to build and sell WP7 phones alongside Symbian and MeeGo could have worked, or an Alien Dalvik VM on Symbian and MeeGo would have seen them laughing all the way to the bank and everybody happy (but not Microsoft, obviously).

    But this current strategy is suicide. No WP7 phones until 2012... I seriously wonder who will be buying Symbian devices in the meantime, or developing for Symbian any longer after this announcement. Sales of devices, and interest in the eco-system - which had been growing nicely, with downloads of 4m/day from Ovi Store and growing at the rate of 0.5m/day per month every month since October - will no doubt go into steep decline (allowing the management to falsely claim they were right all along).

    As far as Nokia developers are concerned, this is pretty much the end. There have been too many lies, too many broken promises - only last October Elop was declaring Qt was the future, everywhere. Now it's not, as it's never coming to WP7. Nokia had a pretty elegant and simple software strategy in place prior to 11 Feb, and now it's a total mess, so bad it's positively toxic.

    Nokia developers are not going to support WP7 blindly out of some misguided faith in Nokia - they've had enough of the lies, constant strategy changes and bullsh1t, and if they're going to have to learn new skills, they're going to be switching to a platform that is doing well (Android) and not one with massively less market share than Symbian, the one they are leaving.

    This deal is, without a doubt, bad for Nokia. Very, very bad.

    1. http://blog.qt.nokia.com/2011/02/12/nokia-new-strategic-direction-what-is-the-future-for-qt/

    2. http://www.rasterman.com/index.php?page=News

  26. dave 93
    Jobs Halo

    On the other hand...

    With Micronokia designing the software and, crucially, the hardware too, they could actually take Apple on with a seamless UI across a range of devices that 'just work'. How long till Google picks a hardware partner (Motorola)?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: On the other hand...

      Congratulations. I think you just came up with the answer to "WTF?".

      It probably won't work, but at least it all makes sense now.

  27. illiad

    first???

    WP& vs the rest... look at ANY mobile phone site - most loom like a mini computer, some with large calendar - can you guess the OS of those with 6 BIG red or blue 'buttons' filling the screen??? looks like a 'kiddie phone' to me...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Kiddie phone

      It may look a little fischer-price but it's actually a very well thought out UI, with functionallity over style. My partner has an android phone and found my WP7 to be ugly when I got it, but finds it far easier to use than her android. It's the same with most people who have had a play with it, after the initial why wouldn't you get an iphone type comments, they quite like it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A healthy ecological tablet-diversity?

    Hmmmm, I dunno el Reg...

    "Microsoft has just bought market share with its purchase of Nokia, but it's a shrinking market, and there's real question over how much this deal can really help Windows."

    It is not a shrinking market for Apple or Google and both of these were newcomers to an oligopoly and how that oligopoly stumbled.

    Maybe too: it's a shrinking market for any one overlooking market appeal and depending on older specification listed marketing strategies.

    Maybe 2 too: is a diversity of hardware and software making things a bit more difficult for malwares?

    Maybe 2-2 too: mobile devices seem to be defining their own market if the product is right?

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: A healthy ecological tablet-diversity?

      Purchase...slip of brain, now corrected.

  29. Christian Berger Silver badge

    If I worked at Nokia....

    I'd try to organize for a larger group of engineers to leave and create their own new company. Nokia has the people, they just had horribly bad management. There is no way Nokia will need as much R&D as they do now, so it's best to just leave the sinking ship instead of being laid off.

    At their own company, they can just concentrate on making the hardware. Then they can add a thin abstraction layer, so the software doesn't need to be ported to every model. Then they would port Meego to that abstraction layer, and leave the rest of the work to the community or system integrators.

    Most importantly, they must leave out the network operators.

    1. HighlightAll
      Linux

      Mokia

      N+1, M for one better, M for MeeGo. Mokia because they could take the piss out of WPblah on Nokia.

      1500 Symbian devs took a half day on Friday. They organised then and they all have a reason to chat the day they get sacked.

      1500 MeeGo devs would be an army. Nokia was well run and those devs would come with discipline and good practice built in.

  30. Antti Roppola
    Terminator

    The X-Box model

    This can work quite well if Nokia is eventually run rather like MS's X-Box division. Bootstrap some mobile phone expertise; Ride the user base long enough to get a toe into the market; Have a preferred primary platform that avoids dealing with a menagrie of hardware; Run the deal lean enough so that a buy out becomes an unbeatable value proposition for Nokia shareholders. That or watch and learn before MS releases their own hardware and cast the withered husk aside. I reckon it's a great reprieve for MS, such second chances do not come along very often.

    Other WP7 particpants should be hesitating right about now; they don't fit into the picture particularly well at all.

  31. Antti Roppola
    Pirate

    MS's mobile phone division

    Further to my prior post, it appears that there is a few people who see the acquisition stars lining up:

    http://mintranet.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/prediction-nokia-becomes-microsofts-hardware-division/

    "Nokia stock is down at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if this also fits well into MS’s plan. They will buy a lot of this stock while it’s cheap, giving them more leverage to influence Nokia down the track."

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Microsoft infiltration of Nokia continues

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/12/nokia-usa-president-is-out-replaced-by-microsoft-vet-chris-webe/

    Nokia R.I.P

  33. Jedibeeftrix
    Stop

    Nokia & Microsoft – And what it means for QT and MeeGo.

    It is widely believed that there can only be three mainstream smartphone platforms, in addition to niche platforms such as RIM, and with Android and Apple IOS occupying two of those positions the race to be the third depends massively on the perception of momentum. Consumers and developers will follow the perceived trend, and so creating a vision for where your platform will go is as much an art of political manoeuvre as it is a science of engineering prowess.

    Nokia want to be (a part of) that third platform and they didn’t have confidence that MeeGo could take them there.

    Nokia needed to do something, losing ten-percent market share in just a year is pretty horrific.

    But even if adopting Win7 mobile for smartphones was a ‘necessary’ choice for Nokia, what does it mean for open platforms like Meego whose competitive advantage is enhanced by its cross-platform development environment?

    On the surface it looks pretty bad:

    1. MeeGo is no longer a smartphone platform, it has now become a smartphone ‘project’ which will limit itself a single 2011 release before morphing into R&D for future concepts. What this means is that stage 5 of 5 will probably not attract much commercial developer interest, nor see investment in services expected of a tier one device.

    2. QT will not be offered as a development platform for Nokia Win7 phones, that will be in the hands of Microsoft, effectively killing Nokia’s ambition to see QT as the premier mobile development platform. What this means is that as far as Nokia is concerned QT has very little utility as a strategic asset and so investment will plummet.

    3. Microsoft Marketplace will replace Ovi-Store as the store for applications on Nokia Win7 devices, and this is unlikely to be made available to MeeGo devices. This may not matter quite as much as it initially appears however as an entirely separate app-store ecosystem has grown up around Nokia/MeeGo in the form of Project Bretzn.

    This is in no way a desirable outcome as far as this blog is concerned, for there is no dream of a mainstream open platform any longer, but perhaps it will survive as a niche platform?

    Nokia currently spends nearly three times as much on R&D as its peers, so when we see that investment by Nokia will decline by a third, and investment in MeeGo will be squeezed to less than half of what it was, perhaps we need a little perspective.

    MeeGo alone will probably see an annual investment of circa $200 million. If we likewise contrast that to the circa $800 million to be invested in “Windows Phone” then we can guess that “MeeGo” phones will attract at least one fifth of the investment that Nokia will put into “Mobile Phones – Platforms” as well as “Services” which amounts to circa $350 million per year.

    So, in a like-for-like comparison with competitors a total investment of $550 million a year doesn’t appear too desperate, provided one understands that it is being kept as a niche platform and not promoted as a mainstream competitor to Android and Apples IOS.

    It should also be noted that Nokia show Win7 as replacing the Symbian platform which occupies the mid-to-high end of the companies offering, a total that represents less than 60% of Nokia’s projected future sales.

    So there is plenty of room for cheap smartphones for the developing world as well as niche smartphones for the developed world.

    As for QT, this blog is willing to follow the advice of KDE project lead Aaron Siego:

    "Open governance around Qt is moving forward briskly and from what I gather there are some interesting and useful announcements to come. R&D investment continues. However, we (KDE) won’t know the full shape of how this will impact our landscape in the mid- and long-terms until we speak more with people at Nokia as well as within the Qt team itself. That’s going to take weeks, not hours or days. Pretty much anything said before then is going to be premature and stand an awfully high chance of being wrong. Qt is a big ecosystem with many players right now, and as with any big company making a big announcement sorting out the practical implications is not something done in an hour or a day."

    So in what manner will MeeGo survive as a niche platform? Well, as an open ‘platform’ of course (even if Nokia are unwilling to term it as such right now), just as RIM makes its money as business platform, and webOS will survive as a vertically integrated HP platform. Likewise will QT survive as a useful (if not strategic) part of Nokia’s future as it will remain the key enabler for development on its niche open platform.

    Events have not turned out as this blogger would choose, and one is far from convinced that Win7 represents a sensible move for Nokia’s long-term future, but regardless, all is not lost on the open-platform front.

  34. Miek
    Linux

    lmao

    we are watching two dying businesses team up to die together. I saw the interview on the BBC with the two Steves. It was hilarious.

  35. Derboy
    Happy

    Why is everyone negative about this deal?

    Having owned Nokia phones during the pre-smartphone era. I for one am excited about owning a smartphone with a decent OS that actually makes phonecalls. Unlike my iPhone 4 and the very buggy Blackberry Storm before it.

    Nokia's hardware was always flawless but Symbian was, lets face it, pretty garbage in the face of IOS, Android and even Blackberry OS.

    The prospect of Nokia hardware with a useable OS is a pretty mouthwatering proposition for me. Alright WinPho7 may not be the finished article but cut and paste is less important smartphone feature to me than actually being able to talk to be people

  36. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  37. NoneSuch

    >Microsoft, Nokia, and MeeGo: Are they all doomed?

    Yes.

    Maybe.

    Yes.

    Nokia needs to adopt Android for any chance at survival. Microsoft "partnerships" are one sided and usually end when M$ has sucked all the info they need to do it themselves.

    Android, Nokia... Android.

  38. ratfox Silver badge
    FAIL

    Facepalm

    Question: Of these two operating systems for cell phones, which is currently more successful?

    1) Windows

    2) Android

    Which one has to be licensed?

    1) Windows

    2) Android

    Which one did Nokia choose?

    1) Windows

    2) Android

    Facepalm, facepalm, facepalm. Google would have welcomed Nokia into Android with open arms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another couple of questions

      Which one has a massive lawsuit from Oracle just about to blow up in its face?

      Is there even any suggestion that Google wanted to partner with Nokia anyway?

      Should the smartphone market be limited to just Apple and Google? Linux people (myself included) regularly state that there shouldn't be a monoculture in desktop, however many go on to say things along the line of Linux should take over the world and Microsoft/Apple should be destroyed.

  39. Alan Firminger

    Fail

    I was shocked by the series of articles about Symbian a few months ago. It appeared that no-one conceived the universal 'phone as extendable interface definitions.

    Same now. MS, by their history, like to bodge together something that works. Three years at the most.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame the Nokia Management

    The Nokia managers that voted for WM7 are the same ones that killed all the good Symbian developments like S90 & S80 - the real flagship Smartphone OS versions of Symbian. Its not Elop, its the weak an uninspired managers at Nokia that will kill Nokia.

  41. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Finland, finland finland...

    What Microsoft really wanted was Linus Torvalds, but they couldn't get him, so they grabbed whatever from Finland was actually available.

    Too bad for Nokia. They're being drained of their remaining life by the Wraith of Redmond.

    Vista Phone 7 is a piece of crap. Now our old friends at Nokia are doomed to build phones that suck forevermore.

  42. David 84

    WP7

    Seems to me that the vast majority of posters know little or nothing about WP7. I've come to expect a general loathing of MSFT from El Reg comments but even so there appears to be some very blinkered responses here.

    I make my living out of writing software for the MSFT technology stack and have done very well out of it over the years so was pretty interested in WP7 and from what I have seen so far it delivers on all fronts, good UI, good tech spec, integration with Marketplace and XBox live and most importantly for me and thousands of other MSFT developers: a great dev environment, Silverlight, XNA, c# and Visual Studio 2010.

    Apple have redefined the smartphone market - twiddly keyboards, pens and other crap have been consigned to the dustbin. Android has largely copied Apple but not learnt from history - the platform is horribly fragmented which is already causing grief for many developers. By locking the hardware spec Microsoft have learnt the lesson of their own history and have a stable platform, a Nokia variant of this is entirely on the cards (I know that's a contradiction - but this is a big partnership and Nokia is supposed to be good at hardware).

    Oh and before I'm flamed - I'm not a Microsoft bigot either - I have an iPhone4 and my kids have Nokia N95. I also had a Sony P900i which was a pain in the arse...

  43. tina1

    Nokia Developers Weigh in on the Planned Nokia/Microsoft Partnership

    Good point guys but i feel that working on windows platform is much easier than working on Symbian.. Moreover with 150 million more devices, the scope of symbain platform isn't dead yet... There's still a long way to go... I don't think it should be that difficult for developers to work on windows platform, it just needs a little bit of investment of time,,,

    watch Nokia Developers Weigh in on the Planned Nokia/Microsoft Partnership

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfWFvCJJaNs

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